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Jun 1, 2010
TAT International founder and owner, Kirk Knapp, has not had it easy in business. "Nine years ago I was broke," he says. "No job, no car, no home. I had a family to support. I owed a quarter of a million dollars. Half of that I owed to my best friend, and you can't walk away from that." But Knapp worked his way out from under the debt, with a business selling long lasting temporary tattoos, called tats. He started TAT International, launched a website, tatstore.com, and now sells his proprietary inks and application systems to others. Knapp's newest offering is a franchise marketing and sales program to help customers who want to achieve financial independence.
"We put people in the business of retailing temporary airbrush tattoos, which are cosmetic products. This product has the actual look and feel of an actual tattoo. If I had one on me, you could not tell the difference," Knapp says. "People are looking for ways to make money," he says. "Some of them are looking for a start-up situation, either a totally new start-up, or something to add on to an existing business to bring in new money."
"I come from an impoverished background," says Knapp. "I just love helping people." He's not saying, of course, that his customers will earn a quarter of a million dollars. However, he does promise that his new program will double sales and triple profits. That's why he's calling it his, "2 by 3" program. According to Knapp, "The '2 by 3' stands for 'double your sales, triple your profitability.' And, it doesn't cost a million dollars, or even tens of thousands of dollars. It only costs a few hundred dollars."
The program targets people who want to be entrepreneurs. They usually have full time jobs and families, Knapp says, and they want to own their own business. "This is a way for them to start. We have customers who quit their jobs to do this full time, and it's working out great for them." Knapp designed the 2 by 3 program to specifically address the five main reasons why small businesses fail. "According to Entrepreneur magazine," he says, "the five reasons why start-ups fail in the first two years are: 1) poor budgeting; 2) poor customer service; 3) poor training; 4) they are in the wrong business; and 5) marketing." But the 2 by 3 program by TAT International addresses these issues.
The new resource includes a website that offers ten mentors, who are actual customers willing to work with 2 by 3 franchisees. "These people will be of service," says Knapp. "They're not going to try to sell you anything. They will answer your questions and give you good information." This system allows those who are interested in the business to talk to those who are industry veterans. "We have a site you can visit that lists these ten people, their contact information, their photos, and some quotes from them. They've given me permission to allow you to access them. I'll stake my reputation that these people will be of service."
The 2 by 3 program offers several options designed to boost effectiveness. "The program includes video training, workshops, and coaching. Customers are assigned a coach to help them. It's a very comprehensive, results-oriented program. It's a win-win, because it is in our interest to have the customer be as successful as possible, so they'll buy more systems, more ink, and more stencils. And, of course, it is in their interest." However, the program goes beyond training and coaching, Knapp explains. "We have a cloaked site. When you become an MVP, you get special pricing, as well as access to training materials and videos."
The fact that the program is a market leader shows that it is fundamentally sound, according to Knapp. "We differentiated ourselves from the competition because we have the best ink on the market. It lasts twice as long on the skin as any other ink. And when you are in the retail business, the first thing you learn is that the customer always asks, 'How long does this last?' Thus, having one that lasts twice as long gives you a competitive advantage. We not only have a proprietary ink, but a proprietary way of applying it," says Knapp, referring to his Duratat line of inks. "We invented the Power Palette," which takes a base of 13 colors and allows them to be combined to make hundreds more. "You can dial these colors in, blend them, mix them, create new colors and shades of colors. It's state-of-the-art."
TAT International also sells a sunless tanning system, application systems for temporary tattoos, over 2,000 stencils, stencil sets, airbrush tools and equipment, inks and supplies, and marketing tools. There are also free business resources available on his website. Knapp knows his customers, so he is able to offer a program tailored to them, he says. "Our average customer is 47 years old, married, and has a full time job. They make somewhere between $5,000 and $50,000 a year extra by doing tats. The 2 by 3 program is designed to help them double their sales and triple their profitability."
For more information:
4950A Plainfield Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Outside the U.S.: 616-868-9722
Topic: Company Profiles
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